History of the School

The school was built in 1874 and was known as 'The Prison Officers School' as it was for the children of the prison officers only. The men had to pay for each child to attend, so in large families, not all children were able to attend. Convicts built the school and carried out daily cleaning, which included the lighting of the peat fires in the classrooms each morning. They also had to spread and rake screened sand over the playground, which was originally called the parade ground. This continued into the 1920s. The men who carried out the cleaning/maintenance were known as the scavenging party and were chained together with a cart containing their rations. They were carefully guarded by armed officers.

The first parts of the school to be built were the boys' school and the headmaster's house, followed by the girls' school and the infant school. The school roll was over 270 pupils and teachers were in short supply as it consisted of the headmaster and his wife assisted by six pupils teachers (possibly older pupils from the school).

The school was handed over and eventually became the Princetown Primary School.

Information sourced from 'Heritage Gateway'.

With thanks to David Worth (a former pupil), we have managed to get hold of some old photographs of the school and school children. For more information/photographs, please visit: https://oldprincetown.weebly.com/

His website is dedicated to documenting the history of Princetown in text and photographs.

Courtesy of Dave German. A rare image of what was presumably the infants class of Princetown School dating to 1893/4. The only known person in the picture is the girl in the top row second from right. This was Margaret Dorothy Williams nee Dawe. At the time of the picture she was living at Prince Hall Farm with her parents John and Mary Dawe. Later, she was the mother of Eileen Exell.

Estimated to be from 1943 or 1944

A class photograph from 1949. The building in the background was in later days both a classroom and acted as the school canteen, with the school's kitchen at the far end. (Image courtesy D. German.)

(Image courtesy D. German) A group of schoolchildren from the early 1960s.